The first thing you need to do before setting off on your gem mining adventure is to decide where to go. There are many mines in the area to choose from (a short list is provided below). Some have native gems only while others have native and enriched buckets. A few mines let you dig your own dirt. Choose the mine that most closely matches the adventure you have in mind and make sure to get clear directions! While many mines are only a short drive away from your vacation cabin rental in the Bryson City or Cherokee NC area, relying solely on a GPS in the mountains has resulted in many a lost and frustrated tourist! So, make sure to have written directions as well!
While it is possible to get through a bucket or two rather quickly, for most people, mining is an all-day affair. When planning your gem mining adventure, you will have a better time if you are adequately prepared. Here are a few tips to help make your experience the best it can be!
Most mines are off the beaten path, so it is wise to pack a lunch and bring along plenty of water. Many have picnic areas for your convenience so you can leave your lunch in the car and just take a break when you are ready. Gem mining is not a clean activity – you are going to get wet and muddy! The dirt is often a reddish color that can stain clothes, so it is best to wear old clothes and tennis shoes. The ride back will be much more comfortable if you bring an extra set of clothes and shoes to change into before heading home. To protect the inside of your car from the mud, you may want to bring a plastic bag to put your wet shoes and clothes in. Although many mines feature covered flumes, it is wise to bring along a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen if it is sunny. Some people choose to wear rubber gloves if it is particularly chilly (this is also a good idea if you are concerned about ruining your manicure!) Sitting on narrow wooden benches for a long time can get a bit uncomfortable, so you might want to pack some old towels that can be folded up and used as a cushion. While most mines provide plastic bags to for the gems you find, you may want to bring along your own zipper bag or plastic container. And of course, you will want to have a camera on hand to record that wonderful moment when you find your very own treasure!
There are many gem mines throughout Western North Carolina, with a majority located right in our mountain neighborhood! Following is a list of mines located in and around Franklin, which is known as the Gem Mining Capital of the World. Yellow Rose Realty has vacation cabin rentals throughout the Cherokee and Bryson City area, including cabins on the way to Franklin. Most are within 15 minutes to 45 minutes from great gem mining. Happy hunting!
Cowee Mountain Ruby Mine
LOCATION: 6771 Sylva Road,
Gold City Gem Mine
9410 Sylva Rd., ph 800-713-7767 or 828-369-3905
Jackson Hole Gem Mine
828-524-5850 – OPEN ALL YEAR
Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine
828-369-9742. Located in the
Burningtown Community off Route 28 North.
Mason Mountain Mine & Cowee Gift Shop
LOCATION: 5315 Bryson City
Rd., ph. 828-524-4570.
Rose Creek Mine
LOCATION: 115 Terrace Ridge Dr.
For mining info call 828-349-3774.
385 Sheffield Farms Rd., ph. 828-369-8383.